In Adobe Illustrator CS4, when I do Save for Web & Devices I get to choose explicitly that I want png-24. But when I export I do not get asked it, is this because it is the default? I need it to make android phone icon buttons. They ask for png-24. I use the export because it will save each artboard automatically and in the Save for... option I have to go through each artboard manually which is time consuming.

3 Answers 3


Yes, Export saves as PNG24 with 8bit alpha. So it's actually a 32-bit RGBA PNG, with 8bits for red, green, blue and transparency.

I use the export because it will save each artboard automatically and in the Save for... option I have to go through each artboard manually which is time consuming.

Maybe using one artboard with slices would be a better option? That way everything can be exported all at once.

An Illustrator document with multiple slices selected and PNG output:

Slice in Illustrator

File size

Using Export usually produces bigger files than Save for Web. I just tested here and the example document I used ended up with 1,320 bytes for Export vs 531 bytes for Save for Web. Using Export created a file that was almost 2.5× bigger.

If you're exporting for use in an app or on the web, you really want to use Save for Web.


I'd be a little careful when using Illustrator for icon or user interface design. There's some significant drawbacks in its rendering quality. Illustrator doesn't dither gradients, has antialiasing issues including stray pixels and a few other problems.

  • great answer, what would be an alternative to AdobeIllustrator? If I use slices for the artboard, I don't get separate files coming out which is needed. They always ask for hd md and ldensity.
    – Vass
    May 21, 2012 at 9:57
  • 1
    Both Photoshop and Fireworks are better choices, in terms of rendering quality. If you duplicate the icon, scale to the correct final size and build a slice for it, you'll be able to export for mdpi, hdpi and xhdpi all at once (or any other scale you might need). It'd also let you tweak the icon for each size, which is important if you want things to look sharp. May 21, 2012 at 11:05

Im pretty sure when you export and save and get the resolution screen and you will pick med resolution it already saves it in png-24 and png-32 and it shouldn't really matter for your app.

You can also write your own script for illustrator to do exactly what you want and save the image in the format you need. It will take some effort though (you can ask on stack overflow for help)

Update Here is a script that will do it for you, just add it to your mainIllustratorDir\Presets\en_US\Scripts and then run it and it will give you an option to pick 24 or 8 png file. (the script is designed to do something else but it should still do the trick) I hope it works like regular export though... it might not crop the images which could make it not useful to you (you need to change your layer names from default ones or they wont get exported)

Did you try saving the images you export in the med resolution and then with the Save for Web & Devices way and see if it makes any difference?

  • thanks for the answer. I have always wanted to make Adobe Illustrator scripts to make the workflow efficient, but never got up to speed with it. I have tried both save methods; export will automatically produce different files for each artboard, but Save for web doesn't so I don't use that option. Best would be to script the save for web option to save each artboard in a separate file.
    – Vass
    May 21, 2012 at 10:03

If using export, you do get asked. There's a "formats" menu at the bottom of the dialog box just above the line of buttons saying "save/cancel".

You can select other useful file formats such as DXF from this menu.

Yes, it's exported as PNG-24. The alpha channel would be visibly horrible – no antialiasing – if it was PNG-8.

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